At 7 p.m. Friday, Richard E. Wood will talk about the “Survival of Rural America: Small Victories and Bitter Harvest,” a study he made of communities like Iola and published as a book. Wood has been a speaker at the Dole Institute of Politics on the KU campus, was Kansas Day speaker at Washburn University and was hailed as a Notable Kansas Author in 2009. His presentation will be made at the Creitz Hall in the Bowlus Fine Arts Center.
Wood is in Iola to participate in the Iola Reading Festival at Allen Community College all day Saturday. He and 15 other authors will be on hand to autograph their books, talk about them and visit with those who attend.
Wood will also be available in Room A-26 at the college at noon and again at 1 p.m. in the library during the Iola Reads tip-off program on Saturday.
He is but one of 16 successful writers of fiction and non-fiction who will participate in the festival which begins at 10 a.m. and continues until 4 p.m.
Eisenhower scholar David A. Nichols is another. His most recent book, “A Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Revolution,” was launched at the Clinton Presidential Library in 2007 and broadcast on C-Span in observance of the 50th anniversary of President Eisenhower’s deployment of troops to Little Rock to support a federal court order for school desegregation.
Nichols will be in Room A-26 at 3 p.m.
TRUE TO ITS NAME, the reading festival is for the whole family. There will be children’s story times throughout the day, starting at 10 in the morning and winding up with “Once Upon a Time Again” at 3 p.m. Children (and adults, too) will learn how to make a useful, fun bookmark. Children’s authors will be on hand to autograph books and visit with kids.
Lovers of mysteries will enjoy Nancy Pickard, an award-winning author of 18 novels, including the Jenny Cain and Marie Lightfoot mystery series. She also has written dozens of short stories and three novels in the Eugenia Potter series created by Virginia Richy. Several of her books are set in Kansas.
Iola’s own Stephen Gilpin, who has written and/or illustrated about 20 books, will be on hand to talk to visitors about cartoon drawing and book illustration.
Authors noted for historical novels, memoirs of key events in U.S. history, Christian fiction, KU basketball, western historical fiction and an encyclopedic knowledge of Kansas wildlife will also be on hand.
The Iola Family Reading Festival is presented to the community free of charge by the Iola Public Library, thanks to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, with support from Thrive Allen County, the Bowlus Fine Arts Center, the Sleeper Family Trust and the Whitehead Trust.
It’s an opportunity not to pass up.
— Emerson Lynn, jr